Clinical management of rib fractures and methods for prevention of pulmonary complications: A review

Thomas J Martin, Ashley Szabo Eltorai, Ryan Dunn, Andrew Varone, Maurice F Joyce, Tareq Kheirbek, Charles Adams, Alan H Daniels, Adam E M Eltorai
Injury 2019, 50 (6): 1159-1165
Rib fractures are common injuries associated with significant morbidity and mortality, largely due to pulmonary complications. Despite equivocal effectiveness data, incentive spirometers are widely utilized to reduce pulmonary complications in the postoperative setting. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of incentive spirometry after rib fracture. Multiple investigations have demonstrated incentive spirometry to be an important screening tool to identify high-risk rib fracture patients who could benefit from aggressive, multidisciplinary pulmonary complication prevention strategies. This review evaluates the epidemiology of rib fractures, their associated pulmonary complications, along with the evidence for optimizing their clinical management through the use of incentive spirometry, multimodal analgesia, and surgical fixation.


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